I visited Ramen Yamadaya a few weeks ago, after hearing good reviews from other food bloggers. Because of the heat wave(s), I never really felt like eating ramen – but there was one Sunday that was relatively cool, so S and I went with a couple of friends.
The indoor seating area was pretty tiny, so we sat on the patio. I didn’t mind at all since it was a nice evening (and plus, I believe the A/C wasn’t working indoors so it would have been realllly hot.)
According to Dennis, author of A Radiused Corner and my go-to expert on ramen, Yamadaya serves Hakata ramen, which has a thick tonkotsu broth made from boiling pork bones for many hours, and – according to Wikipedia – should have a consistency similar to milk, melted butter, or gravy. Mmm…
There are 4 types of ramen: tonkotsu, tonkotsu shoyu, tonkotsu kotteri, and tonkotsu spicy. You could also upgrade any of them to “Yamadaya Ramen,” which includes two types of chashu (usually there’s just one), menma (Japanese-style dried bamboo shoots), nori, and an extra half of a soft-boiled egg. I chose the Yamadaya Ramen with tonkotsu spicy with medium spiciness level. I found it interesting that if you wanted very hot, there is an extra 25 cent charge… special hot sauce?
I took one sip and fell in love with the broth. It was indeed very creamy, and so rich. Because of the upgrade, I had two types of pork: the traditional chashu pork, and a piece of kakuni pork belly, both of which were very tender and flavorful. The soft-boiled egg was pretty good, although S and I agreed that Yakyudori Yakitori‘s is better. (And for me, nothing beats the soft-boiled egg at Ramen Halu in San Jose.) Also, I believe they only use thin noodles… which are my favorite! Yay.
S chose the famous tonkotsu kotteri, which is the tonkotsu broth with black garlic oil. I took a few sips of the broth, and I’m not sure how I feel about the black garlic. It lends a deep, fermented flavor, which made the broth just a bit too rich for me. My other friends liked it, though.
He also chose to get a “combo” – ramen, gyoza or kara-age, and steamed rice for an extra $3. The kara-age was pretty good, just missing mayo for dipping… :P
You could also get a combo with ramen, gyoza or kara-age, and a special rice bowl for $4.80 extra. Another friend of mine chose gyoza and the mabo tofu bowl. The other bowl choices were curry, chashu, mentaiko, croquette, and spicy tuna. I tried a bit of the mabo tofu – the sauce is a little sweet, not too spicy, and nothing like the traditional Asian style, but I liked it.
My friend insisted that I should take a photo of the entire set, but he had already eaten a piece of gyoza… haha. So he wanted to clarify that you actually get four pieces of gyoza, not three.
Anyway, I enjoyed my meal here, and this may just be my new favorite ramen spot in San Diego. The spicy tonkotsu broth really won me over, and I look forward to many more meals here once it starts cooling down here.
4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA